Monday, December 24, 2018

Be awake within sensation first

Christ, on the tympanum of St Foy in Conques

A master says nothing can move the heavens— meaning that that man is a heavenly man in whom all things are so little present that they do not move him. 
—Meister Eckhart, The Complete Mystical Works, Sermon 82

The principal obstacle to consciousness is the wandering mind. Everything that distracts from my concentration is my enemy. Yet I do not have to fight the distractions. I need to ignore them and not nourish them with my energy, my attention. 
—Jeanne de Salzmann, The Reality of Being, Page 83

 Now some people use up all the powers of the soul in the outer man. These are people who turn all their senses and their reason toward perishable goods, knowing nothing of the inner man. You should know that the outer man can be active while the inner man is completely free of this activity and unmoved.

—Meister Eckhart, The Complete Mystical Works, P 571  

So perhaps you have a question about turning thought; and perhaps you wonder about whether it is possible, as my wife asks, to “think, talk, and move while connected to sensation.”
Eckhart’s quote is quite exactly about this. It illustrates the fact that even in the middle ages, masters understood the nature of being and sensation, and the need for detachment (not disassociation!) from the thinking mind in order to manifest Being.
We need to be awake within our sensation first. 
It is the foundation of our individual (undivided) Being. Unless this comes before everything else, including our intellect—especially our intellect— we can’t retain anything. Energy may come and go, and our attention with it, but everything will be fleeting and the confusion will always return. 
Only an active sensation, a living sensation, can change this.
Too much energy goes in us in too many other directions, all of them dictated by the thinking. And we think—this is exactly the problem, we think— that we can figure this out. 
But we can’t. We cannot figure it out, and the turning of the mind is never going to. 
We need, rather, to sense our way to an inner intelligence, not think our way to it. In much the same way that Gurdjieff told his pupil, 
 …you do not know what you are looking for. You interest yourself in these questions without partaking of your instinct… your interior is never interested in these things for which we are working. Something in you remains apart, it looks. Another part in you does something else—you work without instinct. Everything works—head, feeling, except that which must. It has never done anything to change. 
—Wartime Meetings, meeting 32)
 Intelligence means understanding (the latin root) and we cannot understand with the mind; it’s too subjective, too undisciplined. Our instinct can, however, help us sense our way and feel our way towards it.
The capacity for this impulse is already here in us, right now. It isn’t somewhere else in the future, at some other time. It’s an inner capacity, never acquired or understood through external means. But instead of living it in every moment, always available, we theorize about it.
The mind can be quite alive and entirely present without being filled with turning thought; and even if the turning thoughts are present, they can be safely ignored. They don’t signify anything, no matter how much importance I assign to them, and are of very little use in even the most general of senses, let alone any specifics. 
The aim is to discover a living stillness within the mind which perceives within sensation

May God bless you on this special eve.



Announcing the publication of 

The Reconstruction of the Soul is a wide-ranging investigation of symbolism in High and Late Medieval art. It includes detailed analyses of the Unicorn Tapestries at the Cluny Museum and the Cloisters in New York, as well as detailed examinations of the mysterious, erotic and bizarre symbolism in The Cathedral of St. Lazare in Autun.

Along the way, it traces the roots of Western esoteric art from Babylon to ancient Greece, revealing traditions that are still alive today, some 3000 or more years later.

The material is illustrated with photographs taken by the author on location in France and New York, as well as source material from various museums.

It will appeal to anyone interested in the symbolic transmission of the world's Western esoteric heritage.

All funds from your purchase of this book will go to support the translation of important historical documents related to the Gurdjieff tradition.

The author is currently at work on a second volume which will explore even earlier (!) influences on esoteric art and practice. Anticipated publication of this follow-up work will be late 2019.

Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

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